19 April 2008

ABLE Technologies ~ Accelerating Wheelchair Innovations...

The MIT Enterprise Forum Global event on ABLE Technologies spotlighted a promising technology-business category, ABLE or Achieving Better Life Experiences for people with injury, disability, and aging challenges. A hugely compelling subset of this arena is Wheelchair Innovation. That's why I'm very pleased to have attended the design review of my friend Amos Winter's MIT class, SP.784 Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries (WDDC), this past Thursday afternoon. A half-dozen student teams gave a progress report on their design and organizing efforts to an audience of advisors and mentors, including rockstar engineer-inventors Bill Warner (MIT alumnus co-founder of Avid, Wildfire, and Move with Freedom) and Ralf Hotchkiss (Founder of Whirlwind Wheelchair). Coincidently, in today's NYTimes, Su-Hyun Lee tells the inspiring story of MIT alumnus Lee Sang-Mook in an article entitled From a Wheelchair, a Scientist Pries Open South Korean Minds. We need to not only invent better technologies, but also come to broadly appreciate the tremendous talent resident in the so-called handicapped! This is certainly true in rich countries, but perhaps even more important in developing countries, precisely the focus of Amos's MIT class!

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